The first guitar I ever played was my uncle’s old acoustic. The strings were wound way too tight and the action was so stiff I could hardly push the strings down, but I played it every day. I learned everything from Metallica and Pantera to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. It wasn’t easy, but I found it an endlessly interesting hobby. No one seemed to support me, but they didn’t need to. It was the first time I had found something without needing to impress anyone or because I was told to do it. It became my escape; every time I had a bad day, I just remembered I was lucky enough to own a guitar.
In tenth grade, I asked my parents for an electric guitar. They were pretty skeptical at first but decided that it would be a worthwhile investment. And so I became the owner of an inexpensive black Yamaha with great pickups and a horrible fret board. I played it from the moment I got home from school to the time I fell asleep. It was the only possession I really cared about.
The first day of junior year, my friends Kenneth and Steve approached me with the idea of starting a band. I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t sure of my ability but they asked me to come practice with them just for fun. I was really nervous because I was sure they were more advanced.
I plugged in my guitar and they told me to play something. I went through some runs to warm up and they stared at me. When we finally wound down practice, Steve asked, “Do you want to be in the band?” I had never really thought about playing in a band and didn’t even expect them to consider it, but I gladly agreed and now, nine months later, we have shows booked at a place downtown. I will never, ever forget the first time I picked up the guitar.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.